So, at the end of Part 3, I had a plan on how to deal with the Plantar Fasciitis which was:
- Cortisone Shot. (Bad Move.)
- Stretch my Calf and Foot (using standard calf stretch with wall, and stair stretch)
- Footlog – the Doctor loved this.
- The Stick – Because it is awesome.
- Archstrap – immediate relief and support of the Plantar Fascia
- Orthotics – because he is a podiatrist. And I was willing to try it.
- Different shoes – grumble.
- Foot Exercises
While my desire for an insta-fix was (expectedly) dashed to the ground, having a goal and a direction that would resolve my issues was fantastic. The podiatrist had warned me that this might be a long process, and lets be blunt here. Considering the lack of flexibility when he tested my ankle? This (unfortunately) made an incredible amount of sense.
So, a couple of things I did right off. I knew my Orthotics weren’t going to be ready for approximately 4 weeks – so I went out and got some blue ones from Dr. Scholls. This combined with the Arch strap did give some immediate relief. I was cleared to try running fairly quickly after my Doctor’s visit – but my shoes hadn’t arrived and I wasn’t willing to attempt to run in the shoes that had contributed to my problem. Not wanting to lose my fitness level – I attempted other workouts (Insanity), but I have to admit I only lasted a week or so at it. I have an unfortunate problem when it comes to exercise.
The problem is, I’m a runner. I like to run. I can put up with other exercises – if it helps me run better, but if I’m not able to run it probably won’t last too long. I know it’s a will power thing and something I hope to never have to face again. If so, maybe this time I will beat it. But that’s a whole other story.
The Insanity lasted about a week, then it all got side lined when my Mother In Law had heart surgery. I ended up with two weeks off of running and exercising, and my Plantar Fascia didn’t improve much. I even tried KT tape instead of my old taping method (not as useful as I had hoped. It actually hurt worse afterwords, though I’m not blaming it. I suspect that there was something else, and the KT tape simply didn’t have the same level of support as the other taping method.) I wore the Nightbrace, used the stick and footlog and iced.
Periodically, I would try running again, try to convince myself it wasn’t really hurting – then when the truth set in, I would cut back on running and mix in some other exercise as well. Overall, the pain was staying with noticeable pain but at levels that I was able to function at – even if it did hinder my desire to run.. Honestly, I was terrified that I would run for more than a day or two and bring back that absolutely excruciating level of pain I had been at. It kept me from really trying to start running again for real.
Through out this time (probably up through end of June), I was continuing to stretch my calf using the stair stretch, take Ibuprofen and ice it. But I wasn’t doing much exercise. Then I went for a Job interview in Maryland. In July, they called and offered me a job.
Ok, at this point any form of exercise went away as we began to prepare our house to sell, and very quickly (as of August 1st,) I was spending Sunday night to Friday morning living in a hotel. This had a definite advantage of easy access to a treadmill – so I began doing 2 mile increments on the treadmill, once or twice a day. I had hopes that I could still pull off running the Marine Corps Marathon in October (mind you this was August 1st, and I had done no real running since the end of March.) Needless to say – if my family was going to move down ASAP, my focus needed to be on finding a place to live. With that accomplished, my family moved down Sept 15, 2012.
Through out this I continued to stretch my PF, and it maintained a fairly steady level of throbbing. No sharp pains, just dull and constant. I was un-able to run the Marine Corps Marathon (and had no business considering it anyway), but I did start my running back up. Other than 3 weeks since Sept 14th, I have run every week.
So where am I now? My Plantar Fasciitis still aches, but I haven’t had “Sharp” pain in a long time. I still pay attention to whether it lowers or gains. I wear shoes with orthotics all day throughout the week and until very recently – have done all of my running with orthotics in my running shoes. I just recently tried short runs in the VFFs, and wearing them walking around on the weekends (at first with my Dr. Scholls inserts, now I am trying without.) I have been varying my footwear as much as possible, as I try different things to see what makes my feet ache more, and what makes them ache less. Without a doubt, the biggest contributor to it now – is the shoes I wear every day at work. They are a marvelous-looking pair of Docker dress loafers, that look fantastic whether I wear a suit, or just a tie and sports coat. Unfortunately, I have been unable to find any dress shoes that do NOT make my Plantar Fascia relatively unhappy. I’m currently watching what is happening with the “Primal Professional” – a barefoot dress shoe. Even if I put my orthotics in them, they will be a relatively low-rise and more spacious shoe, which should cause me far less discomfort. These have the largest advantage of looking like a conventional dress shoe WITH a heel – even though the heel is actually fake. There are however two major down points. The first one – they aren’t available yet. The second? They are $350 a pair. I am also considering the Vivobarefoot Ra – but I don’t think it looks dressy enough.
On the weekend lately, I have a tendency to wear my VFFs. While many people report that walking barefoot hurts their PF, I actually find that mine does feel better. When I walk in the door from home, I kick of my shoes immediately – and walk across the carpeting. My feet thank me. Now after a full day of walking around in my VFFs (if we go to the National Aquarium, or a Smithsonian), my feet are sore at the end. Regardless of what I wear, I am usually aware of the tightness in my feet, and as such I continue to do Yoga after I run, or on those rare occasions I don’t – a full stretching of the foot/calves/hamstrings. At this point I think that is the ultimate solution for me. Get more comfortable shoes, and get so I can bend over and touch my little piggies at the end of my feet. (oh, and avoid aggravating my Plantar Fascia as much as possible. I think that is also a big part of it!)
My wife and I have totally changed our diet as well – with a large increase in vegetables. I mention this, as I have been doing a wee bit of reading on how a crappy diet can interfere with your body’s ability to heal itself. (Living in a hotel for 6 weeks, you don’t think I was eating well do you?) Some of the better meals will be posted here! Once I have 3 or so, I may even add a “healthy recipes” tab at the top of the blog next to Product Reviews.
In addition, since many injuries are caused by bad-form, I have been in contact with Tracy Peal up in Pennsylvania, who is a Level 3 Certified POSE instructor. Since I have thus-far been unable to find a clinic I can attend, I am hoping to schedule a session with him and improve HOW I run so that I can run better, and stop getting hurt!
I think I am on a fair path toward not only fixing this issue, but trying to prevent my “injury of the year” trend. This year, I WILL be running the Marine Corps Marathon.